Keeping A Commitment
By Quinton Sheer
Hosting a radio program about the independent music business, working in the entertainment law field, and having been a touring performer myself, I have been given a unique perspective on what solo artists and bands need to do to stand out and move forward in the music business. I like to share this perspective on the air and in forums like Orlandobands.com. Of all the good advice that has been taken to heart, it is the basics that are a foundation of any endeavor that I find are most ignored and worth repeating.
The Show Must Go On. Never Cancel. Seriously. There is no good excuse. Van broke down – get a cab. Sure you’ll lose money but that’s better than losing respect and the chance to ever play there again.
Someone sick? Buck Up. There are artists who have played with broken limbs. Your sniffles mean nothing. Learn to adapt your stage show, take out some harmonies, and modify your movements. If members of your band flake – bring who you have and play acoustic. Let the venue decide not to have you. I once saw a band whose lead singer was arrested two hours before the show. The rest of the band tried their best to sing his parts. The show sucked but I give them respect for keeping a commitment. Otherwise, your excuses will be repeated and nowhere else will want to work with you.
I get calls every week from mangers, radio hosts, and booking agents bitching about cancelations. And I call them to vent too. If your spot can be filled, you might think canceling is no big deal. Yes, you can be replaced. Is that the message you want out there? Other sentiments that WILL be created when your band flakes: untrustworthy, uncommitted, lazy, a pain in the ass, and that is being nice.
Real excuses I’ve received:
- Our singer is sick and she wants to stay home and lie on the couch and listen to the rest of the band do the interview.
- We ran out of gas and don’t have any money.
- My friend who was gonna drive me is passed out from smoking too much weed, can you come pick me up?
- I forgot I have class. I am studying Hotel Management.
- I have things to do and it will be frustrating to try and do it all.
- We only sound good on the CD. Do we have to play live?
- We just wanna play around town so we don’t need to do all this stuff.
It doesn’t matter if you are staying local or have hopes to get big in Japan, be polite, remember no one owes you a damn thing, and never underestimate the power of doing what you say you’ll do. That’s called integrity.
Integrity can give marginal talent quite a boost. Its glaring absence can also take the most talented individual and make it so the only shredding is their reputation.